One of the biggest excuses you hear from drunk drivers often sounds amazing to a sober person: The drunk driver insists that he or she wasn’t that drunk. Even when a breath test comes back at .10 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the person may insist that the test must be faulty because he or she feels fine.
Is it denial? Is is honest disbelief? It may be both.
Experts Weigh In
Experts note that drunk drivers are often more drunk than they realize. They honestly did think they could drive safely when they got in the car. Only in the aftermath of an accident is it obvious that they could not.
There are a few reasons for this. One is that alcohol impairs judgment and reasoning. One expert noted that it really does get harder for a person to understand his or her own intoxication level the more drinks that person consumes. Someone who had one or two drinks may be more concerned than someone who had five, precisely because the first person is more sober than the second. The more dangerous driver isn’t as worried.
Slower Reaction Times
Another issue is that reaction times can slow down. When everything is happening as planned, a drunk driver doesn’t notice. When an emergency strikes, that’s when it becomes obvious.
Even a little reaction time makes a big difference. At .08 BAC, which is the legal limit, your reaction gets only a tenth of a second worse. At 70 mph, though, that means you would go 12 more feet before reacting. A sober person may stop at the back bumper of a car that stopped suddenly ahead, while a drunk driver would plow right into it.
Those who have been injured in DUI accidents need to know all of the legal options they have.
Source: U of M Health, “How Alcohol Impairs Your Ability to Drive,” Brad Uren, accessed April 11, 2018